Chanel’s Gleaming New Beverly Hills Flagship Features an Enormous Strand of Pearls
When Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel first set foot in Los Angeles in 1931, it was for an offer she couldn’t refuse. Film mogul Samuel Goldwyn had offered the Parisian couturier a retainer of $1 million if she could dress his actresses and—as he told the New York Times—“endeavor to anticipate fashions by six months in order to solve the eternal problem of keeping gowns up to date, since films often do not appear before the public until months after they have been taken.” Needless to say, after a three-film stint and criticism in the press, she returned to Paris.
Still, the City of Angels was hooked. Over the ensuing decades, the House of Chanel has become as essential to Hollywood stars as the Walk of Fame, bringing that signature elegance to red carpets and the silver screen alike. This week, that legacy has been further cemented with the opening of a four-story, 30,000-square-foot flagship in Beverly Hills—the largest in the United States.
The boutique was designed by longtime Chanel collaborator Peter Marino and—like Coco Chanel’s emblematic “less is more” approach to dressing—is an exercise in elegant restraint. Outside, the Rodeo Drive building appears as a stack of all-white volumes cleaved by a central glazed atrium; inside, the store is awash with references to the Parisian house, from its pared-back palette of black, white, and gray, to a gigantic strand of pearls (a work by artist Jean-Michel Othoniel) that breezily cascades from the atrium’s ceiling.
On the first floor, visitors encounter handbags, watches (a special haute timepiece has been made for the flagship reveal, as has a special pair of Los Angeles–inspired sunglasses and nail polish), and fine jewelry, while via a pristine white stair they can make their way up to shoes, ready-to-wear, and—on the third floor—private consultation rooms. The top floor has a rooftop garden and full penthouse for VIP clients and events. Each space features a specially curated selection of art from names like Lee Bae, Mary Coarse, François-Xavier Lalanne, and more.
Fittingly, the flagship opening coincides with Chanel’s spring/summer ready-to-wear collection, which was inspired by the French New Wave film Last Year at Marienbad, for which Coco Chanel designed the costumes—proof that, nearly a century after Chanel’s first visit, cinematic inspiration flows both ways.
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